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Author Topic: Brilliant interview with Wellens  (Read 4367 times)
Panda Paws
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« on: Thursday, June 25, 2020, 19:17:06 »

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/richie-wellens-getting-the-hairdryer-from-keane-and-schmeichel-gave-me-a-thick-skin-lxtnpbfl2

Henry Winter meets RW. Great read.

Interesting titbits in there too. Got us the title on a budget of 1.8m.

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« Reply #1 on: Thursday, June 25, 2020, 19:22:32 »

paywalled
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Panda Paws
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« Reply #2 on: Thursday, June 25, 2020, 19:27:29 »

Yep. I'm sure there's a free trial or something though.

Failing that, someone other than me might be happy to copy and paste it or screen grab it. I know it sounds a bit cuntish but I choose not to do that because the media and great reporting needs supporting and content shouldn't be free.
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« Reply #3 on: Thursday, June 25, 2020, 19:33:42 »

it's a fair enough attitude.
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« Reply #4 on: Friday, June 26, 2020, 14:25:37 »

Yep. I'm sure there's a free trial or something though.

Failing that, someone other than me might be happy to copy and paste it or screen grab it. I know it sounds a bit cuntish but I choose not to do that because the media and great reporting needs supporting and content shouldn't be free.

Anyone want to copy and paste then ?

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Samdy Gray
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« Reply #5 on: Friday, June 26, 2020, 17:45:09 »

When Richie Wellens, the Swindon Town manager, collects the League Two trophy behind closed doors at the County Ground on Friday, he will reflect with pride on his impact on the club on and off the field, on the lessons he acquired watching Sir Alex Ferguson and Nigel Pearson, and the fortitude instilled in him as a youth team player at Manchester United.

Swindon were crowned champions this month, after the League Two season was curtailed and final places decided using an average points per game method. It meant Wellens became the latest in a long line of former United players to taste success in the dugout.

“United are a breeding ground for managers,” Wellens says. “Mark Robins has just won League One [with Coventry City] and he was a player under Sir Alex, so it definitely rubs off. Being at United gives you thick skin, strength of character. You’d be singing in front of the first team, a daunting experience, doing forfeits.

“If you didn’t do your jobs properly, clean the showers or pumping balls up to a specific pressure, Peter Schmeichel would go berserk, so you’d be in the dressing room explaining why. It stood me in good stead.

“Then you went out on the training pitch and Roy Keane would be rapping passes into you, and if you can’t deal with it, straight away he’s going, ‘he can’t play for Manchester United’. He’s doing it on purpose, testing you.”

A skilful midfield player, Wellens made United’s first team only once, a League Cup defeat alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to Aston Villa in 1999. “I felt in terms of my technical ability I had enough to play in the Premier League,” Wellens, 40, says. “What I did lack at a younger age was professionalism, the energy levels and athleticism. I thought I knew everything, typical young footballer caught in a bubble.

“My biggest regret in life is the fact that I was 16, 17 and had a group of players in front of me, the class of 92, who’d won Doubles, Trebles. I’d been given a four-year deal at 16, I’d been playing for England Under-17s, 18s and you think it’s a natural cycle that you’re going to be the next one into the first team.

“I didn’t work hard enough, and I didn’t feel comfortable asking for advice. I was in awe of them. They’d won the Champions League.”

He also says he “went backwards” when Eric Harrison, the former United youth team coach responsible for developing the careers of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and the rest of the Class of 92, retired. “When he was at the club I was flying, he was that father figure within the club for me, gave me a lot of belief,” Wellens adds.

Crowded out by so much talent at United, Wellens moved on to Blackpool, Oldham Athletic, Doncaster Rovers and Leicester City. It was at Leicester that Wellens began absorbing more lessons about the art of management. “I watched Paolo Sousa [former Portugal midfielder and Leicester manager] when he was taking our sessions,” he says. “He was so detailed, an outstanding coach, but he never really had the time to implement his ideas. He tried to give us too much information too quickly.

“His personal man-management never really got across to the players. I went from him to Sven-Goran Eriksson, who was bit lighter on the tactical side but a brilliant human being, good man-management. Then I had Nigel Pearson who was a perfect mix between the two, would ask about your family, would look after you, would treat you with respect, would treat you as a man, but also along with Craig Shakespeare knows his things tactically.”

Wellens first stepped into management at financially straitened Oldham and then, in November 2018, the complex club that is Swindon, with issues around Lee Power’s ownership and a disconnect with fans. In his first game, Wellens lost 4-0 at home to Carlisle United. “Imagine how I felt. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. I made my mind up. I had to be ruthless. I managed to get to the summer and then I got 16, 17 players out and totally reshaped the team.

“The biggest things I’ve learned off Sir Alex is he keeps his team-talks short and to the point and his ruthlessness. Beckham, [Jaap] Stam, if it ever went wrong you’re out the door, even in the prime of your career, someone will come in and do your job because they won’t keep one player for the detriment of the group.’’

He admired Ferguson’s decisiveness in an age when everyone’s a manager. “With social media now everybody has the answers, everyone’s got an opinion,” Wellens says. “We can all go on Sky and all get the computers out on a Monday evening, and go, ‘well he should have done this’ which is great.

“The best managers make the right decisions at the vital time. Sir Alex was the master of that. I’d like to think that I see the game in a good way and the decision-making over especially the last seven, eight months has been right more often than not.”

He has re-engaged with fans so effectively that Swindon’s gates are almost up to the 8,000 mark. “When I first walked in, Swindon were averaging about 5,500,” he says. “The club was so far away from its supporters it was untrue, in terms of the style of football and actual interaction with the community. In the afternoon, I’d go to a local sports club, boys or girls, local schools and take training sessions. Take four or five players.

“The players have been brilliant. Our gates have come up. We’ve opened the new foundation right next to the ground. This pandemic has taken a lot money out of the club and left a bit of a black hole and we’ll have to recover from that, but the signs are really good.”

But what of the owner? Power, the former Norwich City striker, appointed himself as manager for a brief period in October 2015 and, last month, warned at the High Court that the club could go into administration, after he failed to overturn an injunction brought by two other part-owners of the club, preventing its sale to American-based investors.

“I get on really well with Lee Power,” Wellens says. “He never interferes. He puts players to me which I might agree with, but if I say no that’s it.

“We haven’t spent huge amounts. Our wage budget was around £1.8 million, not massive in terms of some of the numbers other clubs have used to get promotion.

“Lee’s been brilliant. Wages are always paid on time. At my previous club we could go four, five, six weeks without wages being paid. Players at this level live month to month, they have families, mortgages and bills to pay.”

Juggling resources, Wellens has cleverly blended in loanees such as Anthony Grant (Shrewsbury Town), Diallang Jaiyesimi (Norwich City) and Steven Benda (Swansea City). They play good football, mixing their approach between possession and counterattacking, and have a prolific cutting edge in Eoin Doyle and Jerry Yates.

“If teams press us really high we pop balls in behind for [Kaiyne] Woolery, [Keshi] Anderson and [Lloyd] Isgrove who are quick players,” he says. “What tends to then happen is they get deeper and we start to play in the pockets of space in between their midfield and defenders and pick them off that way.

“We’ve got loads of little rotations for different scenarios that might pop up. The players are well-informed. The players trust me.

“I grew up in a council estate in Manchester and I like taking gambles on players that have had it a little bit rough. I give them a chance to rebuild their career and that’s worked well for me here. I’m not only getting a good player but I get him at cheaper rate because of the mental-side issues that come with them.

“Anthony Grant is a good example, we’ve paid 40 per cent of his wages from Shrewsbury because — and I don’t think Granty would mind me saying — he had two or three managers he had difficulties with.

“Granty’s come in with me and been fantastic. He knows there’s a line, and I let him drift towards that line every now and then, but if he ever crosses it he knows there’s one way, probably the end of his career. He’s been a great influence not only on the pitch but in the dressing room. We’ve also had other lads who’ve come from rough areas in London, brilliant lads that want to improve.”

Wellens has two sons, Charlie and Alfie, at United, so how does he keep them hungry? “Because I don’t give them everything. They have to work for everything. (Charlie) has signed a good contract at the best club. He’s going to be good enough technically to play at the top level, it’s all about developing his mental issues.”

He gives advice, but lets them develop. “A lot of parents want to live their lives through their son. That’s the biggest mistake you can make. Let them make mistakes. You don’t have to kill them, let the kids play.

“You’re not creating robots here. You have to allow them to develop their own game. If they keep making the same mistake over and over, don’t criticise, just go, ‘try this next time’.

“When I was a young kid my family couldn’t afford to take me to the fitness coaches and to do extra training. Three days a week I take Charlie and Alfie to David Norris, he’s ex-professional at Portsmouth and Leeds, who has his own gym in Bolton so I take them there and they develop.”

Charlie and Alfie are also inspired by United’s local lads such as Marcus Rashford. “Marcus is a fantastic role model especially with what’s happened in recent weeks, with the school meals,” Wellens says. “Outstanding. Brandon Williams is from Harpurhey, which is a tough area of Manchester round the corner from where I grew up. Those two are great examples. United develop good humans, good footballers.”

Wellens has not been able to celebrate promotion yet. “I had to get my wisdom teeth done,” he says. “For four or five days I was like a bloody gerbil, my face is all swollen, nightmare. I’m hoping in two weeks we have a couple of days in Marbella, so after the 10th or 11th pint then it might sink in what we’ve done.

“Now we’re going to a level where you have Sunderland, Ipswich, three teams coming down from the Championship — teams who’ll be big. Oxford, Portsmouth could be there [depending on the play-offs]. Peterborough and Doncaster will be strong. We need to make sure we unearth a few diamonds. But I don’t think a salary cap is right. I just think 70 per cent of what you bring in, that’s what you’ve got to spend.”

He believes the Premier League should help the EFL more. “100 per cent. There will be managers now in the Championship, League One and League Two who will be future Premier League managers, and hundreds of footballers there will be future Premier League footballers.

“Look at England. Harry Kane might not be the best striker in England if he didn’t have loan moves at Leyton Orient, Norwich, Leicester (and Millwall). Let’s keep developing the dream of the next Harry Kane, the next Jamie Vardy.

“All we need is a bit more of the Sky money dispersed. If every Premier League club would give £5 million each, that would be £100 million between the rest of the EFL — £5 million to a Premier League club now is probably one player’s salary. We’ve got something unique in our football pyramid that should never be forgotten, especially in what it gives to local communities.

“Chris Wilder [at Sheffield United] hasn’t forgotten where he came from [Halifax, Oxford and Northampton Town]. I’m a manager of a League Two club and if we had an away game in the north, and needed somewhere to train, I know I can ring Wilder up. He’d say, ‘Rich, not a problem. I’ll give you a pitch, how many changing rooms, do you need balls, bibs?’. He will give us a Premier League training ground.

“As long as you’re there after 2pm and his players have gone. You ring other Premier League managers and they’ve totally forgotten where they’ve come from. They say, ‘We can’t do it because of health and safety’. Come on!

“I’d love to follow the footsteps of Chris, not only work in the Premier League but never forget where I came from. God bless in five, six years’ time I’m managing in the Premier League and if a League Two manager rings me up and they want to use my training ground — absolutely.”
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Samdy Gray
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« Reply #6 on: Friday, June 26, 2020, 17:46:19 »

https://github.com/iamadamdev/bypass-paywalls-chrome

For anyone who wants it.
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brocklesby red

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« Reply #7 on: Friday, June 26, 2020, 18:02:45 »

Thanks Samdy, really good write up. Wellens will go on to manage at championship level and possibly higher so I’m just enjoying the time we have him for
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« Reply #8 on: Friday, June 26, 2020, 18:04:22 »

Only paying 40% of Grant's wages? What a signing/deal that was.
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« Reply #9 on: Friday, June 26, 2020, 20:40:15 »

He has re-engaged with fans so effectively that Swindon’s gates are almost up to the 8,000 mark. “When I first walked in, Swindon were averaging about 5,500,” he says. “The club was so far away from its supporters it was untrue, in terms of the style of football and actual interaction with the community. In the afternoon, I’d go to a local sports club, boys or girls, local schools and take training sessions. Take four or five players.
FFS no-one tell Reg about this bit. He'll do his nut.
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Reg Smeeton
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« Reply #10 on: Saturday, June 27, 2020, 00:04:54 »

FFS no-one tell Reg about this bit. He'll do his nut.

I saw this bit......

Wellens first stepped into management at financially straitened Oldham and then, in November 2018, the complex club that is Swindon, with issues around Lee Power’s ownership and a disconnect with fans.

Our average was 6,300 when Wellens came in, he of course was right about the club "being so far away from its supporters it was untrue" but that disconnect isn't down to the endeavours of FiTc etc, who have done a decent job for years, but rather the lack of communications about goings on at the top, which for all Wellens efforts remains the case, as revealed by the recent court case
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Peter Venkman
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« Reply #11 on: Saturday, June 27, 2020, 10:18:55 »

Another bit glossed over in this.

Quote
“Lee’s been brilliant. Wages are always paid on time. At my previous club we could go four, five, six weeks without wages being paid. Players at this level live month to month, they have families, mortgages and bills to pay.”

Exactly the opposite of what a couple of fans on here have said in the past about Power proving them to be liars or just scandalmongers of which we know we have a few, but then again too few to mention.....they did what they had to do and saw it through without exemption.
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« Reply #12 on: Saturday, June 27, 2020, 10:33:22 »

Another bit glossed over in this.

Exactly the opposite of what a couple of fans on here have said in the past about Power proving them to be liars or just scandalmongers of which we know we have a few, but then again too few to mention.....they did what they had to do and saw it through without exemption.

I don't think anyone on here has ever said, Wellens doesn't get on with Power or that wages haven't been paid on time.... can you dredge up some evidence?
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Peter Venkman
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« Reply #13 on: Saturday, June 27, 2020, 10:52:18 »

I don't think anyone on here has ever said, Wellens doesn't get on with Power or that wages haven't been paid on time.... can you dredge up some evidence?
I cant be bothered to look back but I am sure there have been posters saying Power has not been paying wages on time and that the PFA were going to get involved. I mentioned nothign abotu Wellens not getting on with Power that is your interpretation not mine.
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« Reply #14 on: Saturday, June 27, 2020, 10:54:05 »

Talking of the PFA. They never did help out with the cash crisis clubs are facing despite sitting on £60m.

Ditto the PL who were going to give cash once their games restarted.

Funny that.
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